How I learned to walk away from stupid deals

Version 3

    One of my clients taught me a great lesson about selling, branding and marketing. Sometimes, in our quest to find revenue, we forget something more important and more lasting - trust.

    Your goal as an organization is to deliver on your commitments reliably and predictably. By doing so, you build the trust needed to sustain a healthy relationship with your customer for many years. The sum of these healthy relationships is a strong brand. In professional services, a strong brand is evidenced by happy customers.

     

    At Macon Raine, we put skin in the game and invest in our client's sales, marketing and business development process. If we are going to put our money where out mouth is with the promise of revenue, and if we are going to bet on the successful outcome and consistently meet client expectations, we can't sign-up for bad deals. In fact, if we sense that the client can't deliver on their side of the agreement, we need to back off fast.

    Good deals put you and your customer on the same page. They are structured as win/wins. Bad deals cost too much. No matter who is at fault, bad revenue costs everyone dearly in reputation and pain.

     

    By copying the policy of one of our best clients, we have implemented our own "No Stupid Deals" policy. It makes a lot of sense. No one wants to be in a "stupid deal." Very quickly, the "No Stupid Deals" policy has yielded immediate benefits for our clients and for our business.

    In fact, our quality of life improved because we were no longer spending too much time putting out fires. When we are aligned with the customer, customer satisfaction goes up. Our ability to manage expectations and deliver on our promises grew rapidly.

     

    Clients don't want stupid deals either. Step into the client's shoes. Imagine you are picking a new vendor. A new vendor is a big time investment. Finding the right vendor is a big deal. Finding a vendor that can help move the needle is a big deal. Your clients want long-term, trusted relationships as much as you do. If they don't, they are probably not worth the investment.

     

    But it takes a leap of faith to say no. It is hard to walk away from dollars. In this economy, why would anyone turn down a deal? But if you can't establish a dialogue with the client and modify the project into a win/win, it is probably not worth doing.